n: a temporary nomadic disorder with
symptoms ranging from: severe
irritability and uncontrolled outpourings of internal voice; to:
into self, emotional instability, and detachment from reality
I am a laidback
traveler. I shy away from itineraries
and large groups. I love spending the
moment in the moment instead of reflecting on the
moment that just passed and
then regretting. Flexibility is crucial,
positive attitude a must, and I take several leaps and bounds outside
established comfort zones just to try something new. I travel
under the wings of the main concepts
of the Confucian communication model, searching for reciprocity always
gratitude to offer in return, avoiding confrontation and aggression,
to learn. I want to deserve the gifts of
culture; I want to be a dialectical traveler.
That does not make my mode of travel a cut above any other form; rather
it is a sieving process for all potential travel companions to go
before committing to traveling with me.
I may have forgotten to mention the word “ideally”: for the betterment
of the individual, it would ideally
weed out all travelers that do not share the same sentiments. It
As a result, I have diagnosed myself with a very serious case of
“disadaptation syndrome,” illustrated in Eric Haanstad’s meditation on
fieldwork on Thailand, The Other City of Angels: Ethnography with
the Bangkok Police; this
combination of stress, fear, and feelings of incompetence that I like
to call “traveler’s
“I am quiet but
happy,” I claimed, “I’m just trying to soak in India.” Those were the only words
I could force out
of my pursed lips to the ears of my comrade, left to take the brunt of
behavior. The rest of the travel
companions were a collection of a Semester at Sea trip that just so
share the travel sense that sends me reeling into my diagnosed symptoms
out in the foreign world. There was
miscommunication on top of miscommunication.
The negativity was too heavy to carry, and there is never an approved
point and time to drop off the load. My
fellow travelers in India
were wearing a foggy lens concerned with the next transmission.
They saw themselves as the source of
knowledge and were ready to pass it on.
When the receiver would not receive, then came the negativity passed on
to the unsuspecting Confucian modeler.
It was an intrusion into this land as far as I was concerned.
I will continue to
cross paths with others
that do not share the same whimsical mentality that I carry when
traveling. Instead of extending such
whimsy to a positive, healthy interaction, I allow the noise to get in
of intercultural communication and understanding. The noise is
the most severe symptom of
traveler’s schizophrenia; sinking into internal seclusion and
irritability is a
resignation of cultural relativism. I
become “disadapted” and depersonalized “left to blindly inhabit secret
worlds of discomfort and alienation.” But
as Haanstad continues to discover, “depersonalizing” oneself can be
useful. I learned a lot about Amy the
Traveler while in India. Intra-culturally,
I was not functioning; therefore, inter-culturally
I was mute to the communication of an intricate land and people. India tried haggling its gifts with
me, but I turned down much more than just beggars and peddlers; I sold
short on the entire package.